So you are starting a blog –
Hello and welcome to the blogosphere – its a big ol’ world out there punk! I hope you are ready!
– and you have decided to set up a PET blog!
(if you are setting up a cookery or photography blog you can still take note from this post just I will be aiming it mainly at them quirky animal lovers! 😛)
Now in my opinion, there is a HUGE difference between a pet blog and any other kind of blog you can make (emphasis on the ‘in my opinion’ bit). Blogs are a persons way of sharing passions, thoughts and opinions on all sorts of topics from talking types of beer to reviewing the latest porn movie. Yes, it really is out there folks!
When it comes to sitting down and deciding you want to start a blog, a logical beginning would be a ‘constant’. What do I mean by constant? Well, blogs are more successful the more often you post, FACT, so you want to post about something you have an interest in and something you can easily discuss every day/week. There really isn’t much worth in blogging about your week holiday to Cairo when its over and done with after 7 days. What happens to your blog after that? Where would it go?!
So it is easy to land on the idea of a pet blog! Its perfect! Your pet is there every day so you can take pictures and have stories pretty regularly. But this is where that pesky problem arrives.
I love cruising WordPress for pet blogs. I like reading about animals, looking at other peoples pets, reading about their mischievous adventures and even admiring exotic creatures I would never dream of owning (lizards for example… I will look but not touch! Noooo touchy!) and when I find a new pet blog – say with one or two posts already – I check it out, give the blogger a little support with a comment or a like, and I check back to see if that particular blog is successful.
I can tell you now, out of ALL them new pet blogs I have discovered, there is not one still going today. Not one.
So why do pet blogs in particular have such a high failure rate?
I think its unfair to say the bloggers themselves are lazy or “just not that into it” because I genuinely think that blogging about a pet is harder than it looks – I think any kind of blogging is harder than it looks! When you are writing about your pet everyday, that once exciting new thing your animal did becomes the normal. Daily life as a pet-owner becomes slightly un-blogable; its tedious and routine and seriously who actually wants to read about the same thing day in and day out?! This is where so many pet blogs are going wrong! They close their subject down so much that when they run out of things to say, the blog dries up and dies. RIP yet another pet blog.
Now like I said before, I love reading about pets. Without the support and comments from other bloggers I doubt I would have had the patience and motivation to continue this blog and make it the success it is today. I learnt very quickly where I was going wrong whilst blogging and how to try to fix that. Here are some tips to make that quickly dying blog spring back into life;
- Don’t post more than once a day.
If you post 2 or 3 times a day while you are starting out, you will burn out. And fast! You will run out of things to say, your posts will get shorter and that routine people crave just wont be there. Everyone loves a reliable blog – if you want followers to come back day after day to check out your site, you have to post day after day to keep your audience entertained! Blogging is a creative discipline – you have to set a mental schedule for yourself!
Do you want to post every day? Will you have enough to say if posting daily? Would it be better to post every other day? Even when you have several ideas for posts, which is generally the case when you are getting started, write them up and SAVE THEM. Post them the next day, line up a few posts for the next few days if you have the ideas! That way even if you have an off-day and dont fancy writing much, you can simply pluck that draft you wrote up yesterday and post it. Job done and you still have that regime.
- Widen your blogging topic.
There is only so much you can say about one particular thing – I have a blog about hamsters, I know this fact all too well! If you stick to writing solely about that one topic you will just run out of things to say. You, as a writer, will get bored and there again – the blog dies a slow and painful death. And imagine your readers! They don’t want to read about the exact same thing every day do they?! Think outside the box a little.
Take HamsterDiaries for example: I knew I couldnt blog about JUST hamsters for longer than a week so I added some features to the blog. I have a weekly feature, The Sunday Riddle (which is not even hamster related anymore) just to break up a weeks worth of hamster-themed posts. I also review toys and pet products – still on my blog’s theme but different to the every day post. I include videos to break up the thousands of words I post. I have started using photography techniques on my hamster photos which has opened up a whole new world of talk-points and ideas. I have blog awards and ‘competitions’ to involve my readers as well as tackle frequently asked questions and answer genuine hamster-related problems that other bloggers have. By exploring photography, art, technology, social media and all sorts of other topics I am broadening my reading audience as well as giving me something new and exciting to write about (believe it or not, I have more things on my mind than just hamsters 😛 who knew eh!)
- Go comment CRAZY!
When you have a new blog, dont be afraid to comment on other blogs to get your name out there in the blogosphere! If you sit there at your computer and wait for hundreds of readers to flock to your site you are going to be bitterly disappointed. It takes patience and a little bit of selflessness to get your blog going. Hey for the first 3 days of HamsterDiaries I didnt get more than 15 views a day! It was slow and discouraging but just give it a little time and voila! If you find other blogs with a shared interest or topic you will gain a reader and perhaps a following. There are lots of pet blogs out there, just take your pick and introduce yourself! Read these other blogs, get to know the blogger behind the posts and comment your thoughts and opinions. Knowing someone is paying attention to your writing is rewarding and more often than not the favour is returned.
- Include pictures. Lots of pictures.
People who read pet blogs don’t want to read millions of words everyday; they want to see who the fuss is all about. Including a picture in every post you publish is a MUST. As shallow as it may seem, over half of the blogs I check out from the WordPress Reader are because of the pictures! If I see a super cute kitten or a dog doing a handstand, I am checking that blog out! If I see lots of words and no pretty pic, I’m not all that enticed to read it. With pet blogs especially, you cant have a pet blog without pictures of your pet!
- Dont try too hard.
If you spend hours and hour slaving over each post, tweaking them jokes and changing the words around so it sounds better – you are going to suck the fun riiiiiight out of blogging. Not every line needs to be a joke, not every line needs to be philosophically meaningful and not every line needs to be grammatically perfect. Your blog is for you to express yourself; if you’re going to perfect every detail you are going to lose all that enjoyment of blogging. Writing this now I can see about 7 red squiggly lines underneath my terrible spellings but I dont really mind because I write as I think and when I am on a roll typing, not a thing in the world can stop me! I would say don’t write ‘lyk dis. No1 wnts 2 read blogs whn da writing iz just bad!’ I promise I will never try to type like a chav again, I made my point. 😛
This post turned out lots longer than I planned but I thought I would give my advice and share a few tips as I have yet witnessed another blog death this week.
If you think your motivation could fall prey to the blog-plague then just make your blog a bit more open, dont specify it as a pet blog so you can write about anything that pops into your head! I would recommend a theme to any blog, best way to get interested targeted readers is to have a theme, but if you think you could just give up on a new blog start out big and focus it down as you settle into a routine.
Some of the greatest blogs I read are pet blogs, they are the success stories here! They have made it through blog-death and I salute them!